Rising food insecurity has pushed many of the Coast’s charities to the brink as they struggle to keep locals fed, but a new OzHarvest branch is helping ease that burden, one hamper at a time.
As one of the nation’s leading food rescue organisations, OzHarvest collects and distributes excess food from supermarkets and other retailers before delivering it to 1,300 charity partners right around Australia.
After recognising the growing need in the LGA, a Central Coast OzHarvest Chapter was formed, with support from local Lions Clubs and Tuggerah based not-for-profit, the Elderslee Foundation.
That was in mid-May, and now OzHarvest works in tandem with Lions Club and Elderslee volunteers to source, pack and deliver 500 hampers full of fresh, quality produce and pantry essentials to charities from San Remo to Woy Woy.
Annika Stott heads up the chapter’s operations and has seen firsthand how the pandemic has changed the face of food insecurity.
“There is such an incredible need for food relief, so it feels great to be able to support our network of partner charities who have been struggling to meet the demand,” Stott said.
According to Stott, there’s also an additional benefit to OzHarvest tackling food insecurity, as it frees up of charity funding for other purposes.
Stott said the chapter was now thinking of ways to take their offering long term.
“We would love to expand what we’re doing on the Coast but to do that we need more local supermarkets to come on board with the food rescue.
“We’d also need additional funding and community support,” Stott said.
The latter of those two the organisation has in spades, with charity partners full of praise for OzHarvest.
“So many families are finding themselves in situations that they have never experienced before,” said San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Manager, Jillian Hogan.
“The need in our community is so great and it is sadly predicted to increase.
“It’s great that OzHarvest is on the Coast to help people access nutritious and healthy food for their families,” she added.